Face masks are especially essential during the current COVID-19 pandemic; however, people are often unaware of the damage it can do to your skin, especially when worn for long hours. While they do provide extra protection against the virus whether you make your mask on your own or buy one online, you will soon start to notice some undesirable effects on your skin and experience discomfort.
Many of you may have noticed plenty of news and media coverage about healthcare workers who wear masks for hours and end up experiencing rashes, breakouts and general skin irritation. Or perhaps, you’ve experienced these issues yourself. This occurs due to the closed environment masks create. Not only it is a great spot for bacteria to gather and oil and dirt to build up, but it can make your skin more sensitive and exacerbate old problems such as acne and eczema.
There’s no need to fret though. There are plenty of things you can to do keep your skin protected from these effects. We’ve done all the research for you in this article, so follow our tips and tricks to keep your skin smooth and healthy!
#1: Avoid makeup underneath your face mask
Adding a layer of makeup to your skin will only make your skin issues worse. Due to your mask trapping warm, humid air around your lower face, a layer of makeup only makes it even more difficult for your skin to “breathe”. Ultimately this will lead to blocked pores, pimples and general skin irritation.
Plus, the mask will rub off the top layer of makeup anyway and you’ll certainly have a tough time washing it off! Now is certainly the best time to go makeup-free and let your skin breathe and recover. After all, half your face is hidden by your mask anyway!
#2: Follow your general skincare routine strictly
We all feel guilty when skipping our daily face wash some night or skipping out on parts of our skincare routine. However, wearing a mask puts extra stress on your skin – therefore it is of paramount importance that you stick to your skincare regimen now more than ever.
The most important aspect you simply cannot skip is washing your face with a gentle cleanser every evening. Due to the closed environment of the mask, plenty of oils, dirt and bacteria will build up on your skin and you will notice a sudden surge in clogged pores and breakout flares. If you need help with your skincare routine, take a look at our healthy skin guide. Also, consider visiting your favourite beauty therapist more frequently for hydrating facial treatments, they will surely help to maintain your skincare at an optimum level in the long run.
#3: Skip products that are harsh on your skin
Examples of products that are likely to put more stress on your skin are exfoliators and retinol. As masks tend to increase the sensitivity of your skin, it’s best to avoid any harsh products drying out your skin further or causing a rash.
Take a look at the ingredients in your current skincare products and identify the harsher ones. It’s best to switch them for more natural, soothing ingredients that focus on hydrating your skin without irritating it further. Check the list of harmful ingredients and natural alternatives in any of your cosmetic products here.
#4: Use face masks made of the best material
Basic masks naturally get damp due to your breath being trapped and thereby create a warm and moist environment. Bacteria are especially attracted to these sorts of environments, which is why many people report rashes and pimples after wearing masks for an extended period of time.
Look for masks that are made of light, breathable materials such as cotton to avoid this issue. Naturally, make sure that they are tightly woven so that they won’t allow the virus to pass through. Your health is of greatest importance here!
#5: Use a barrier cream to protect your skin from getting chafed
With a mask rubbing up on your skin all day long, you’re certain to experience some level of redness and irritation. To reduce this friction, try applying a thicker level of moisturizer on the parts of your face with which the mask’s outer edges come into contact. You can also use mild products such as petroleum jelly such as Vaseline to help heal areas that end up chafing anyway. Isaworkshop has a great selection for those.
This will reduce the amount the mask rubs up on your bare skin and thereby damage it less. You may have to reapply it during the day, especially if you’re wearing it for an extended period of time and if you end up sweating. Don’t forget to wash it off completely when you get home – you don’t want to end up with oily patches of skin!
#6: Wash your mask regularly
Your mask attracts all kinds of dust from air pollution and the outside world, as well as the bacteria growing in the enclosed environment. Washing your mask on a daily basis is absolutely essential. After all, what’s the point of wearing a dirty and unhygienic mask?
You can wash your mask in the washing machine but this may cause it to become loose and stretched out, depending on the material. The best way to sanitize it is to soak it in boiling water and detergent for five minutes. Opt for a mild detergent meant for sensitive skin, since your facial skin is much more sensitive in comparison to the rest of your body.
Following the above six steps will help ensure your skin stays smooth, supple and healthy no matter how long you wear masks for every day. Not only do they help prevent the severity of skin irritation and blemishes you will experience, but they also ensure you can get rid of them if and when they begin to crop up.